Ah, Paris. The home of cobbled streets, high art and - sorry New York, London and Tokyo – the most glittering restaurant scene on earth. Since the dawn of dining, Paris has been recognised the world over for its eye-wateringly high standard of cooking, with traditional French gastronomy close to its butter-drenched heart. And, right this minute, it’s better than ever. Paris’ most sizzling chefs and restaurateurs are at work not just at the white tablecloth-and-polished pearl palaces of old, but in street food-inspired cafes, casual wine bars and neighbourhood eateries.
So, if you’re planning a trip to Paris any time soon, clear your schedule and get your stretchy jeans on. Here are six Parisian restaurateurs to keep on your radar this year – preferably with a glass of Merlot and a forkful of braised beef in your hand.
After setting fire (not literally) to some of the highest-profile kitchens of New York, London, Spain and Hong Kong, this Nantes-native returned to France to open his own restaurant, Frenchie, in 2009. Since then, it has become one of the city’s most talked-about spots, and getting a table there is a bit like trying to reach the top of the Eiffel Tower – you’ll have to elbow your way past a heck of lot of other people to get there. Guests are treated to a tasting menu of internationally inspired French cooking dictated by the seasons and cooked using the highest-grade ingredients available. It's all served in a laid-back spot on the romantic Rue de Nil right next to sister wine bar and ‘Frenchie To Go’.
A demigod of French fine dining, Alain Ducasse is the decorated chef behind five of Paris’ most celebrated restaurants. He became the first restaurateur to carry – wait for it – three Michelin stars in three separate cities, and is one of the only chefs on earth to have ever held twenty-one Michelin stars throughout his career. So it’s safe to say he’s not a bad chef. If you want a true taste of Parisian dining at its finest, get yourself and your wallet a table at Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée, the glittering fairytale ballroom of a restaurant where you’ll find Ducasse’s famous seasonal French cooking in a room of Corinthian columns, polished silver booths and chandeliers dripping in cut glass.
When Paris’ best chefs want to eat, they head to the northeastern neighbourhood of Belleville. Lovers of natural wine and satisfying (but ever so refined) late night bites make the pilgrimage to Le Baratin, where artists, foodies and intellectuals have been gathering at the copper and wood bar for over thirty years. Despite now being one of the city’s most beloved restaurants, Raquel remains at the front of house, always ready to recommend the daily offering of locally-sourced, lovingly cooked dishes.
contact3 Rue Jouye-Rouve, 75020 Paris
+33 1 43 49 39 70
how to get there
This young Bordeaux-born chef cut his teeth in some of the greatest kitchens in Paris. This year, he opened Détour, a deceptively relaxed-looking restaurant in the 9th Arrondissement that offers edgy-as-a-newly-sharpened-knife cooking at deliciously reasonable prices. Nestled in a hopelessly Parisian cobbled side street, Cachot’s restaurant offers a short, simple wine list, inventive seasonal cooking and the friendliest staff this side of the Seine.
contact15 Rue de la Tour des Dames, 75009 Paris
+33 1 45 26 21 48
how to get there
5.Tatiana and Katia Levha
With their critically acclaimed ‘neo-bistro’, the Levha sisters have nailed down the formula for approachable but unique neighbourhood eatery Le Servan. Their cool, stripped-back spot is nestled in the hipster-friendly 11th Arrondissement, offering market-driven traditional French dishes spruced up with international flavours inspired by the sisters’ childhoods spent trailing France, Hong Kong, Manila and Thailand.
Having survived in the kitchens of the legendary Parisian chef Alain Passard, Bertrand Grebaut’s white-hot eatery Septime just bagged a ‘Most Sustainable Restaurant’ award, and has come to stand as a symbol of the future of Parisian gastronomy. Featuring rustic, lovingly chipped tables, scrubby stone walls, flickering candles and an open kitchen, this cosy restaurant offers up ‘micro seasonal’ dishes using the crème de la crème of produce. Not content with establishing one of the city’s most talked-about restaurants, Grebaut has also thrown open the doors of the small plate seafood joint Clamato just down the road, as well as the irresistible wine bar Septime La Cave - for throwing back a few glasses of the good stuff before dinner. And after.